In 1978, an artist half-buried and covered two dozen junker cars from the 60s and 70s with pavement in a suburban Connecticut mall parking lot. There the ghost cars sat for 25 years.
Built in 1978, the Ghost Parking Lot occupied an unlikely section of leased land along Dixwell Avenue at the Hamden Plaza, a suburban Connecticut shopping center of no other distinction besides being home to a duck pin bowling alley.
Created, presumably, in the name of public art, a line-up of approximately two dozen typically suburban cars –- Cadillacs and Volkswagens, station wagons and convertibles –- were left reaching half-way out of the ground, seemingly covered in tar and goo, like the fat man in that Coen Brothers' movie.
Just as strangely, the car interiors were left intact. The seats, dials, steering wheels, and even shift knobs were still largely discernible. You could walk on the roofs and hoods of the cars, make out their emblems and even sit on the seats of the convertible that had been buried top-down, pretending to take it for a joy(less) ride.
It's arguable as to whether this installation ever had a glory day and, if so, precisely when that was. Fifteen years into its existence, weeds were poking through the asphalt, growing over the cars. Bits of concrete had fallen off as the local skater kids, with not much else to do, discovered the pleasures of jumping over the half exposed auto carcasses.
Some might say that this inevitable decay was part of the point and that this car mausoleum just got better with time. The more pragmatic among us might point out that cars are better on top of pavement, not underneath, and that some car restoration projects are better left undone.
In 2003, the installation was gone. In its place, an empty parking lot, finally useful for what's it supposed to be used for — parking cars that still run.
This video describes the exhibit — starting at about 0:37 into the clip.
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